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Sextus Pompey, Imperator and Prefect of the Fleet, Executed 35 B.C.
In Greek mythology, Scylla was a monster that lived on one side of Strait of Messina between Italy and Sicily, opposite her counterpart Charybdis. The two sides of the strait were within an arrow's range of each other - so close that sailors attempting to avoid Charybdis would pass dangerously close to Scylla and vice versa. Scylla made her first appearance in Homer's Odyssey, where Odysseus and his crew encounter her and Charybdis on their travels. Later myth gave her an origin story as a beautiful nymph who gets turned into a monster. The idiom "between Scylla and Charybdis" has come to mean being forced to choose between two similarly dangerous situations. SH87414. Silver denarius, RSC IPompeia 3a (same ligatures), Crawford 511/4d, Sydenham 1348, BMCRRSicily 20, Sear CRI 335b, SRCV I 1393, gVF, beautifully toned, edge cracks, legends not fully struck, weight 3.566 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 225o, uncertain Sicilian mint, 40 - 39 B.C.; obverse MAG•PIVS•IMP•ITER, pharos (lighthouse) of Messana, topped with stature of Neptune standing right holding trident and rudder, his left foot on a galley ram; quinquereme (war galley) sailing left in foreground below adorned with aquila on prow and scepter at the stern; reverse PRAEF ORAE•MARIT•ET•CLAS• S•C• (AEs and MAR ligate), the sea monster Skylla, her upper body a nude human female torso, lower body of two fish tails and three dog foreparts, attacking to left with a rudder wielded as a club in both hands raised overhead; ex Nomos Obolos 10, lot 349; rare; $2100.00 (€1785.00)
Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.
In Feb 44 B.C. the senate named Julius Caesardictator for life. Fearing that he wished to become king, on the 15th of Mar, 63 senators assassinated him with their knives. His assassination plunged the Roman Republic into 17 years of civil war, after which it would re-emerge as the Roman Empire.SH82705. Silver denarius, Alföldi Caesar, type III, 115 (this coin); BMCRRRome 4147 (also I); Crawford 480/3; RSC I 34; Sydenham 1056; Sear Imperators 100; RBW 1678 (H) , gVF, toned, banker’s mark on obverse, areas of flat strike, attractive deep old cabinet toning, with hints of iridescence around the devices, weight 3.607 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 30o, Rome mint, moneyer M. Mettius, Jan - Feb 44 B.C.; obverseCAESAR·IMP, wreathed head of Caesar right, cymbium (boat shaped cup used as a wine ladle) and lituus (augural wand) behind; reverse M METTIVS, Venus standing left, Victory in her extended right hand, long transverse scepter in left hand, resting left elbow on shield which rests on globe, I (control letter) in lower left field; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 23 (9 Jan 2016), lot 376; ex Andrew McCabe Collection; ex CNG e-auction 237 (21 July 2010), lot 344; ex Professor L Fontana Collection; rare; $1800.00 (€1530.00)
Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.
The cistophorus was first struck by the Pergamene Kingdom was a tetradrachm (four-drachms coin) struck on a reduced Asian standard of about 3 grams per drachm. Its name was derived from the cista, a Dionysian cult snake basket that frequently appeared on the obverse. After the Pergamene Kingdom was bequeathed to Rome in 133 B.C., the Romans continued to strike cistophori for the Asia province, with a value equal to three denarii. The portrait of Augustus and later emperors replaced the cista on the obverse.SH85434. Silver cistophorictetradrachm, Sutherland Group VI, RPC I 2215, RIC I 479, RSC I 33, BnF I 922, BMCRE I 694, BMCRR East 262, SRCV I 1587, VF, full circles strike on a broad flan, light uneven toning, light encrustations, small closed edge crack, weight 11.660 g, maximum diameter 27.2 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesus mint, c. 24 - 20 B.C.; obverse IMP CAE-SAR (counterclockwise below), bare head right, linear border; reverse garlanded and filleted altar of Diana (artemis, ornamented on the front with two hinds standing confronted, AVGVSTVS above; $1080.00 (€918.00)
Roman Republic, Anonymous, c. 234 - 231 B.C.
In 232, despite the opposition of the Roman Senate and of his own father, the Roman political leader Gaius Flaminius won passage of a measure to distribute land among the plebeians. The Romans decide to parcel out land north of Rome (the Ager Gallicus) into small holdings for its poorer citizens whose farms have fallen into ruin during the First Punic War. In 217, during the Second Punic War, Gaius Flaminius was defeated and killed in the Battle of Lake Trasimene against Hannibal.SH87329. Silver didrachm, RBW Collection 48 (same dies), Crawford 26/1, Sydenham 27, RSC I Pre-denarius Coinage 37, Historia Numorum Italy 306, SRCV I 28, VF, well centered, nice style, toned, light marks, very porous, tiny edge cracks, weight 6.406 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 234 - 231 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse horse rearing left, ROMA above back and tail; rare; $900.00 (€765.00)
Luceria, Apulia, Italy, c. 211 - 200 B.C.
In 321 B.C., the Romans, deceived into thinking Lucera was under siege by the Samnites, walked into an ambush and were defeated. The town threw out the Samnites, sought Roman protection, and in 320 B.C. was granted the status of Colonia Togata, which meant it was ruled by the Roman Senate. To strengthen ties, 2,500 Romans moved to Lucera. Roman culture merged with the native one slowly, probably accompanied by cross-cultural marriages, but Lucera was a steadfast supporter of Rome. By the 2nd century B.C., the rustic town was transformed into a proper Roman city with houses, public buildings, paved roads, sidewalks and services for travelers, accommodation for livestock with running water, and warehouses for storing goods.GB86125. Bronze uncia, SNG ANS 709; SNG Cop 663; SNG BnF 1368; SNG München 504; HN Italy 682; BMC Italy p. 141, 62; Hunterian -, VF, rough, weight 4.084 g, maximum diameter 14.9 mm, die axis 0o, Luceria mint, c. 211 - 200 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, bow and quiver at shoulder, pellet behind; reverse LOVC-ERI, toad seen from above; very rare; $680.00 (€578.00)
Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG V
This may have been the famous V Alaudae ('the larks'), a Caesarean legion which remained loyal to Antony but was later retained by Augustus. There are other possibilities, however: V Macedonica, a Caesarean legion about which little is known; V Urbana, disbanded after Actium (and therefore quite likely an Antonian legion); and V Gallica, a Caesarean legion that was probably the one that under Lollius lost its eagle to German raiders in Gaul in 17 B.C.SH86627. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/18, Sydenham 1221, BMCRR II East 196, RSC I 32, Sear CRI 354, SRCV I 1479, Choice gVF, nice toning, some light marks and scratches, weight 3.622 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANT AVG III. VIR. R. P. C., galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - V, legionary aquila between two standards; $580.00 (€493.00)
Tutere (Tudor), Umbria, Italy, 280 - 240 B.C.
Todi was founded by the ancient Italic people of the Umbri, in the 8th - 7th century BC, with the name of Tutere. The name means "border," it being the city located on the frontier with the Etruscan dominions. It was conquered by the Romans in 217 BC. According to Silius Italicus, it had a double line of walls that stopped Hannibal himself after his victory at the Trasimeno. Christianity spread to Todi very early, through the efforts of St. Terentianus. Bishop St. Fortunatus became the patron saint of the city for his heroic defense of it during the Gothic siege. In Lombard times, Todi was part of the Duchy of Spoleto.SH73969. Bronze hemiobol, HN Italy 37, Campania CNAI 2, SNG Cop 75, SNG ANS 105; BMC Italy p. 39, 1, F, well centered, pitted, flan crack, weight 3.364 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Tuder (Todi, Italy) mint, 280 - 240 B.C.; obverse bearded head of the satyr Silenus (Seilenos) right, wearing ivy wreath; reverse Umbrian: TVTEDE (downward on left, TVT top outward, EDE top inward), eagle standing left, wings spread; rare; $360.00 (€306.00)
Roman Republic, Dictatorship of Julius Caesar, C. Vibius C.f. C.n. Pansa Caetronianus, 48 B.C.
The events of 48 B.C. are among the best known of ancient history. Caesar defeated Pompey at Pharsalus and later was greeted at Alexandria with a gift of Pompey's head. The twenty-one-year-old Cleopatra VII had herself delivered to him rolled in a carpet and became his mistress. Caesar and Cleopatra defeated Ptolemy XIII, but during the battle the Library of Alexandria was burned. RR87409. Silver denarius, Crawford 449/1b, Sear CRI 20a, Sydenham 948, RSC IVibia 19, BMCRR I 3980, SRCV I 420, gVF, toned, obverse slightly off center, bumps and scratches, weight 3.551 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 48 B.C.; obverse PANSA, mask of Pan right, pedum (shepherd's crook) behind; reverse IOVIS AXVR C VIBIVS C F C N, Jupiter Axurus (or Anxurus) seated left, radiate, patera in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand; ex CNG e-auction 425 (25 Jul 2018), lot 359; $240.00 (€204.00)
Roman Republic, M. Plaetorius M.f. Cestianus, 67 B.C.
This issue was struck by Cestianus while serving as curule aedile by special decree of the Senate. Cestianus had also issued coins as moneyer two years before. Grueber and Sydenham identify the goddess as Vacuna. RR87415. Silver denarius, Crawford 409/1, Sydenham 809, RSC IPlaetoria 4, SRCV I 349, RBW Collection 1482, BMCRR I Rome 3596, Choice gVF, well centered, attractive style, light tone, some die wear, round flan with a slightly ragged edge , weight 3.95 g, maximum diameter 19 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 67 B.C. 57 BC; obverse CESTIANVS S C, bust of female deity to right, draped and wearing the helmet of Minerva, the laurel wreath of Apollo, the crown of Isis, the grain of Demeter, the wings of Victory and the bow and quiver of Diana on her back, cornucopia before, bead and reelborder; reverse M PLAETORIVS M F AED CVR, eagle standing half-right on thunderbolt, head left, wings open, bead and reelborder; ex Nomos Obolos 10, lot 341; $240.00 (€204.00)
Roman Republic, C. Marcius Censorinus, 88 B.C.
The obverse refers to the claimed descent of the gensMarcia from the ancient kings of Rome. The reverse alludes to the Ludi Apollinares, games founded with the encouragement of the seer Marcius. During these games desultors raced vaulting between two horses. This moneyer perished opposing Sulla.RR82683. Silver denarius, BMCRRRome 2374 (also snake control), Crawford 346/1d, Sydenham 713a, RSC IMarcia 18, SRCV I 256, Choice gVF, centered, toning, far horse struck a little flat, weight 4.018 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 90o, Rome mint, 88 B.C.; obversejugate diademed heads right of Numa Pompilius, bearded, and Ancius Marcius, not bearded; reversedesultor racing two horses right, seated on the nearer horse, nude but for a conical cap, whip in right hand, reigns in left hand, snake (control symbol) below horses, C?CENSO in exergue; ex Pegasi Numismatics; $225.00 (€191.25)
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Crawford, M. Roman Republican Coinage. (Cambridge, 1974).
Grueber, H.A. Coins of the Roman Republic in The British Museum. (London, 1910).
Haeberlin, E. J. Aes Grave. Das Schwergeld Roms und Mittelitaliens. (Frankfurt, 1910).
Rutter, N.K. ed. Historia Numorum. Italy. (London, 2001).
Seaby, H.A., D. Sear, & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Volume I, The Republic to Augustus. (London, 1989).
Sear, D. R. The History and Coinage of the Roman Imperators 49 - 27 BC. (London, 1998).
Sear, D. R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Stannard, C. The local coinages of Central Italy in the late Roman Republic: provisional catalogue, Oct 2007.
Sydenham, E. Aes Grave, a Study of the Cast Coinages of Rome and Central Italy. (London, 1926).
Sydenham, E. The Coinage of the Roman Republic. (London, 1952).
Thurlow, B. and I. Vecchi. Italian Cast Coinage. (Dorchester, 1979).
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